Wisconsin is home to some pretty unique attractions and events. From larger-than-life creatures to out of this world space surprises, our great state has plenty of quirky, hidden gems to visit on your next trip.
Claire d’Loon – Mercer: With one of the highest concentrations of nesting loon pairs in the continental United States and a 16-foot loon in town, there’s no question why Mercer proclaims itself the “Loon Capital of the World”. Claire d’Loon, the giant loon that sits outside the town’s Chamber of Commerce, can even “talk” and make loon sounds. Each year Mercer celebrates ‘Loon Day’, a community festival that features an iconic Loon Calling Contest.
Sputnik IV Crash Site – Manitowoc: On September 6, 1992, Manitowoc received quite the surprise when a 20-pound piece of Sputnik IV crashed in the middle of the street. The site of the crash is permanently marked on the road where it was found, but visitors can find a replica made by NASA in the Rahr-West Art Museum. Each fall, Manitowoc celebrates this quirky piece of history with the community festival Sputnikfest. Manitowoc goes all out with costume contests and a Miss Space Debris Pageant.
Trollway – Mount Horeb: The quaint downtown of Mount Horeb is decorated with over 30 carved, wooden trolls. These life-sized creatures from Scandinavian folklore live outside many of Mount Horeb’s local attractions. Whether you’re biking by or strolling down the charming Main Street, make sure to stop and see the classic creatures that protect some of Mount Horeb’s specialty shops and restaurants.
Jurustic Park – Marshfield: This whimsical, walkable art gallery in Marshfield displays the work of artist Clyde Wynia. He has crafted larger-than-life creatures out of various metals that create a fantasty world you have to see to believe. Stop by the Hobbit House to see Nancy Wynia’s hand-blown glass jewelry and other specialty pieces available for purchase.
World’s Largest Penny – Woodruff: This giant coin maintains a prominent place in the tiny town of Woodruff and stands 15 feet high, is 12 inches thick and weighs over 17,000 pounds. The concrete coin honors a 1953 fundraiser from local schoolchildren who were tasked by engineer Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb to save their pennies to build a hospital. Word spread across the country, and the children collected a total of 1.7 million pennies.